Monday, July 30, 2012

Poll: Your Interest in the Olympics

The Olympics are here again. Just how interested are you in the Olympics game, an international gathering of the world's best amateur athletes, who are in it for no money or corporate sponsorships, and who are exposed to the highest level of fair competition presided over by the least-biased judges and referees in order to arrive at a final medal count that best reflects the total athletic prowess and opportunity of each nation?

(Okay, that was little bit sarcastic. To be fair to the Olympics, sports, after all, are at their core about inequality.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

2012 Presidential Elections: Mexico

This is the seventh in a series of posts on the numerous presidential elections this year. The first six posts were on the elections in, Taiwan, RussiaSenegal, France, Egypt, and Paraguay (not technically an election).

A week ago, on July 2, Enrique Peña Nieto became the next president of Mexico, defeating Andrés Manuel López Obrador on the left and Josefina Vázquez Mota on the right.

This is good news for those who see Peña Nieto as the best option to  redirect the Mexican economy and the . Many considered Vázquez Mota to be less than fully competent, though she is from the same party as the last two presidents, and many others considered López Obrador to be discredited from the way he handled himself after the last campaign. This is also good news for those who want to see the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) back on power, as it had been for decades before Fox and Calderón, the last two Mexican presidents and from the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN).
This is bad news for those think that Peña Nieto represents the same old PRI corruption, tied too closely with the biggest TV networks in Mexico. This is bad news for those who believe him to be more just a pretty face than a serious politician who can fix Mexico's problems.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Today in Language: David Crystal

David Crystal was born July 6, 1941. He could be considered the Stephen Hawking of linguistics.

Crystal, like Hawking, is British. Also like Hawking, and more to the point, he has popularized an academic discipline. That is not say he has not done significant if arcane (which is normal) work within the academic discipline itself--he has. But helping us understand better how the world works--whether in regard to physics or language or God's sovereignty--is I would venture more significant and probably even harder than arcane research.

Crystal has made many of the facets of language clear to us when we thought we understood how it worked but in reality were lost in the dark. Two of his more successful popular books are The Stories of English and Txtng: The Gr8 Db8.

2012 Presidential (Non-)Elections: Paraguay

This is the sixth in a series of posts on the numerous presidential elections this year. The first five posts were on the elections in Taiwan, RussiaSenegal, France, and Egypt.

On June 22, Luis Federico Franco Gómez became president of Paraguay. This was technically not an election, but the political circumstances and of course the change of a head of state are significant. Franco was of course the next in line, as he had been vice president to Fernando Lugo, who was impeached on the 21st in a controversial move by the Paraguayan Senate. And he was elected by the people in 2008 to be Lugo's second-in-command.

This is bad news for those think that Lugo's impeachment amounted to a coup. Lugo accepted his impeachment but did refer to it as a "parliamentary coup." It also bad news for those who liked Lugo because of his close ties with Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and his Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.

This is good news for those who want to uphold Paraguay's constitution and those who want to see Paraguay move a bit further away from Chávez and the direction he is trying to take the continent.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 Presidential Elections: Egypt

This is the fifth in a series of posts on the numerous presidential elections this year. The first four posts were on the elections in Taiwan, RussiaSenegal and France.

On June 18, the election commission in Egypt declared the Mohammed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, had won the Egyptian presidential election. This is good news for many of the Muslims in Egypt who were scandalized by the more liberal, secular waves of former dictator Hosni Mubarak and who want Egypt to return to the fold of Islamist Middle Eastern countries. This is bad news for probably most of the people who actually made the Arab Spring last year and wanted real change and even democracy in Egypt.


In the West, this is being regarded largely as the end of a fizzled revolution, with the military still holding actual power much as it had even under Mubarak.